Play Ball, Jackie!

  • Interest Level: Grade 2 - Grade 5
  • Reading Level: Grade 3

Batter up! It’s Jackie Robinson’s first game in the major leagues. April 15, 1947, is a big day for ten-year-old Matty Romano. His dad is taking him to see his favorite team—the Brooklyn Dodgers—on opening day!
It’s also a big day for the Dodgers’ new first baseman, Jackie Robinson. Many white fans don’t like the fact that an African American is playing in the major leagues. By putting Jackie on the team, the Dodgers are breaking the color barrier. How will Jackie respond to the pressure? Is he the player who can finally help the Dodgers make it back to the World Series?

Format Your Price Add
Interest Level Grade 2 - Grade 5
Reading Level Grade 3
Genre Picture Books, Social Studies
Copyright 2011
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Millbrook Press ™
Language English
Number of Pages 32
Publication Date 2014-08-01
Reading Counts! Level 2.6
Text Type Fiction—Historical
BISACS JUV032010, JUV039120, JUV011010
Dewey [E]
Graphics Full-color illustrations
Dimensions 10.625 x 8.875
Lexile 590
ATOS Reading Level 3.5
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 141977
Accelerated Reader® Points 0.5
Features Author/Illustrator note, Awards, Bibliography/further reading, Original artwork, Reviewed, and Starred Reviews


  • Nutmeg Award Nominee, Nominated, 2014
  • CBC Children's Choices, Winner, 2012


School Library Journal

“This well-crafted book deserves a place on the growing shelf of books designed to introduce readers to Robinson, including Sharon Robinson’s Jackie’s Gift (Viking, 2010) and Testing the Ice (Scholastic, 2009) and Myron Uhlberg’s Dad, Jackie, and Me (Peachtree, 2005).” —School Library Journal


“The real treat here is the Dodger-blue-and-graphite kineticism of Morse’s stylized, limber figures and dynamic layouts. Consider this book as a leadoff hitter to set the table for the slugger, Kadir Nelson’s We Are the Ship (2008).” —Booklist

Publishers Weekly

“Morse’s dramatically grained, exaggerated artwork plays up the intensity of the era’s racial tensions and the dynamism of the game, while Krensky adeptly moves between the action on Ebbets Field and Matty’s conversations with his father. An intimate and powerful account of a historic day.” —Publishers Weekly

Kirkus Reviews

“Krensky creates a multilayered recounting of a seminal moment in the history of baseball and America. He incorporates background information while carefully and accurately describing the play-by-play details of that first game, and he also manages to capture the mood of the crowd—and, by extension, the nation. Morse’s muscular, out-of-proportion illustrations focus readers’ attention on facial and body language, emphasizing the strong emotions alluded to in the text. A worthy homage to a baseball legend.” —Kirkus Reviews

Author: Stephen Krensky

Stephen Krensky did not have the kind of childhood anyone would choose to write books about. It was happy and uneventful, with only the occasional bump in the night to keep him on his toes. He started writing at Hamilton College in upstate New York where he graduated in 1975. His first book, A Big Day for Scepters, was published in 1977, and he has now written over 100 fiction and nonfiction children's books––including novels, picture books, easy readers, and biographies. Mr. Krensky and his family live in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Illustrator: Joe Morse

Joe Morse is an award-winning illustrator and artist. His work has graced everything from billboards in England to coins in Canada. He directs the Illustration Degree program at Sheridan Institute outside of Toronto. Joe lives in Toronto with his wife, the illustrator/designer Lorraine Tuson, and their 2 children.